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  #1  
Old 05-03-2009, 02:56 PM
Tom D Tom D is offline
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Fire

Now that I have your attention, I'll tell you a stupid mistake I made that almost cost me a lot of damage.
I have processed approx 25-30 batches of BD using the "open barrel" method. I always make 40 gals at a time (8-5gal buckets) with room to put 7.5 gal of methanol in the mix. Somehow I lost count of how much I put in and ended up with 45 gal (9 buckets) of WVO in the barrel. I then put the 7.5 gal of methanol using the direct injection method with a tube into the bottom of the tank. The top of the barrel was closed at this point so I had no idea I was overfilling. I also had the external heat element on to keep the temp at 140F. The mixture started leaking out the hole at the top of the barrel where the mixer shaft enters and ran down the outside and contacted with the heat element. FIRE... I pulled the electrical power and luckily had a extinguisher handy. My control panel was damaged but nothing further. If I had not heeded Don's (Fabman) suggestion to inject nitrogen into the mix tank during and after injecting the Methanol, I have no doubt that the whole 40+ gallons of mix would have gone up big time. The only part that burned was the fuel as it ran out of the barrel. (Not onough oxygen in the barrel to support combustion)
Moral of the story. I don't care how many batches you made and how routine it becomes. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING, DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED, KEEP EXTINGUISHER NEARBY, EXPECT THE WORST IT MAY HAPPEN.
Thank you Don for steering me to the safe way.
Tom
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2009, 03:35 PM
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Wow, you sure got my attention! Glad everything came out OK............I remember my first fire. I was draining the mix tank, and the light that showed the heating element status was off ( bad bulb). When the oil level dropped to the element level, instant fire! That's when I went back to the drawing board and changed over to an external heating system. We all MUST remember that we work with dangerous chemicals, and the potential for fire. How's the blood pressure Tom???
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Old 05-03-2009, 05:33 PM
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How's the blood pressure Tom???
I'll bet it's still a little elevated.....along with the adrenaline level.

Glad you were on top of it Tom. That could have been quite ugly.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2009, 07:09 PM
Tom D Tom D is offline
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Originally Posted by fabmandelux View Post
Wow, you sure got my attention! Glad everything came out OK............I remember my first fire. I was draining the mix tank, and the light that showed the heating element status was off ( bad bulb). When the oil level dropped to the element level, instant fire! That's when I went back to the drawing board and changed over to an external heating system. We all MUST remember that we work with dangerous chemicals, and the potential for fire. How's the blood pressure Tom???
The flames were licking up the side of the mix barrel and getting bigger. I must admit the fire extinguisher was not readily available. I had to run 100 ft each way for it. While running all I could think of was the mix barrel going up with 40+ gallons of meoh/WVO in it. My heart was REALLY pumping when I got back. I used so much powder, you couldn't even make out the side of the processor. I have learned my lesson and I hope I inspired all our BD friends on this net to be VERY careful.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:38 PM
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Some of my Budd's think I'm paranoid when it comes to fire............All my tanks use a "nitrogen-Blanket" to keep oxygen out, air powered pumps, and I have 8 fire extinguishers within easy reach! Did your wife see this happen?
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:38 AM
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Searched for nitrogen blanket, could not find. Please explain. Thank you.
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Old 05-04-2009, 02:06 PM
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A Nitrogen blanket is simply using Nitrogen Gas in place of Oxygen in your tanks. 0 Oxygen = No possibility of fire or explosion. By using Nitrogen you also avoid oxidation of the biodiesel.
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Old 05-04-2009, 03:26 PM
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So, my understanding of this is that you inject nitrogen into what? If the nitrogen displaces the oxygen, is it heavier than air? Do you do this in your heating drum?, your processor?, your storage drums?, is your processor an appleseed? Lots of questions about this.
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Old 05-04-2009, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Fett Affen View Post
So, my understanding of this is that you inject nitrogen into what? If the nitrogen displaces the oxygen, is it heavier than air? Do you do this in your heating drum?, your processor?, your storage drums?, is your processor an appleseed? Lots of questions about this.
I use Nitrogen in my whole system. All tanks, My processor ( not an apple seed style), even my steel plumbing gets purged with it. I use only air powered diaphragm pumps to transfer all fluids. My tanks ( including the processor) are all heated from OUTSIDE the tank. No electrical heating elements are submerged in any fluid. Safety is my main concern, then quality control of the finished Bio. I also use the Magnesol dry wash system instead of water washing.
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2009, 07:21 PM
Tom D Tom D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fabmandelux View Post
Some of my Budd's think I'm paranoid when it comes to fire............All my tanks use a "nitrogen-Blanket" to keep oxygen out, air powered pumps, and I have 8 fire extinguishers within easy reach! Did your wife see this happen?
Fortunately I had moved the processor to my friends commercial warehouse (I built it on a trailer). If not, you would still hear her yapping about that. She doesn't even know.
I don't have a flow meter for injecting nitrogen into the vapor chamber but I put the liquid tube from the bottom of the condensor in a bottle and turn on just enough to make it bubble. I don't know if by doing that, I am "forcing" the methanol out the condensor before it has a chance to condense. I'm running about 125-150 lbs on "your" vaporizer. Afraid with those pressures and 180F that I MUST inject nitrogen into the chamber to prevent explosion. Do you think 5/16 tubing is large enough for a condensor line ? No doubt you are following the chats between Phydeaux and myself. You know what kind of vaporizer and condensor I have so if you can add anything to the conversation I would appreciate it. I know Troy (KennedyFord) has your system and it works for him. I must be missing something.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2009, 11:24 PM
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I am assuming that your system is a closed loop system. Do you have a picture of your system on this site?
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Old 05-04-2009, 11:24 PM
 
 
 
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